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Site visit to our Stoke Poges build

It’s always exciting to see a project that you have created coming together.

That’s exactly how we felt on our latest trip to Stoke Poges, to visit the site of our innovative new build with a contemporary design and similar feel to a German Huf Haus.

The greyness of the day didn’t attract from the immensity of the building as it has begun to take shape, complementing the plot with its innovative structure and creative design.

With the main structure built, and character of the interior being established, we are well on our way to completing the project in time for our May target.


So, what makes this project so unique? 

Even at first glance it is clear that this property doesn’t fall in line with convention. Its dramatic pitched roof, high ceilings, glass exterior and timber structure give it a different feel to the brick houses that Britain has grown so accustomed to. Its open-plan design and use of windows and glass allow it to capture sunlight and create a bright and modern place to live.


What inspired the design?

Our client came to us with a brief of creating a house with a similar feel to the award-winning German Huf Haus design. Big open spaces and natural light appealed to them, however they wanted the house to have a little more privacy and a more ‘homely’ feel than the original German design. We therefore designed a house with some Huf Haus characteristics, such as the pitched roof, high ceiling, terraces and large glass windows to capture natural light, while maintaining some more British features of a home and tailoring the property to suit our clients preferences, such as supplementing a brick wall on the outside ground floor.


What other features does the house have?

We decided to use innovative construction for the new building, settling on Structural Insulated Panels (SIP) from Kingspan TEK. These are made of wood, but their invisible structure gave us freedom with the interior design. Furthermore, their prefabrication meant that construction time was less and there was limited on-site waste. The panels also have high energy efficiency, allowing for a thinner construction than usual insulation.


What comes next?

Although our Stoke Poges build has begun to take shape and acquire character, there are still things to be done before our May deadline. Currently, underfloor heating and electrics are being fitted and then decorating and finishes for the property will commence. We can’t wait to follow the progress of this contemporary and modern design, and are looking forward to seeing the finished product!

Living Space Architects awarded Best of Houzz 2018 award

Extending a small family home with simple techniques and impressive results

This project is the perfect example of a house that really has become a home.

Jill and James McDowell came to us wanting to give their property in Earl Richards a contemporary revamp. Having been in the family for years, they were not prepared to part ways with their wonderful house, but realised it was time for it to be modernised and opened up to make best use of space and the garden- especially with grandchildren now scurrying around.

They wanted to extend the kitchen and link the dining area to the garden, opening up the inside and creating more space and light. As the property was relatively small, we were able to use fairly simple and low-cost techniques to meet these needs in an innovative and attractive way.

“It was great, as we could apply ideas usually used on larger projects and adapt them to this smaller design” said Kirsty Curnow-Bayley, a Living Space Architect who worked on the project.  “We used simple techniques to create really interesting spaces”.


Below you can see the finished work: seamless access to the garden, great views and a pleasant, bright kitchen space within. Jill and James were delighted with the results.


An English take on a German design: Stoke Poges

Our client came to us with the brief of creating a house with a similar feel to the award-winning German Huf Haus design.

Creeping into the UK market, these timber and glass houses are generally two-storeys high with pitched roof separated at the gable. Typical features include terraces, canopies, roof lights and large windows…we were excited to get started!

The interior is often a very open design with double-height spaces, galleries, high ceilings, open dining, living and kitchen rooms, and connected yet private bedrooms. The design aims to maximise the sunlight and bring the natural world directly into the living space.

Big open spaces and the natural light appealed to our client, but they wanted to have a little more privacy and a more ‘homely’ feel than the original German design.

Our design

For the ground floor, we designed a bright, open living dining and kitchen space, capturing sunlight from the top of the roof and big sliding windows and connecting to a glazed dining area..

The bedrooms were placed in the first floor with en-suites and connections to a large terrace.

We decided to use a innovative construction for our new building, settling on Structural Insulated Panels (SIP) from Kingspan TEK. These fit into the Huf House feel as were made of wood and had an invisible structure which allowed interior design freedom. They are also prefabricated which shortens construction time on site meaning that there is minimal on-site waste and internal work can begin earlier. The panels have a thinner construction than usual insulation and high energy efficiency.

To incorporate the look of an English house while maintaining the dark-light contrast feature of a typical Huf Haus, we supplemented a brick wall on the outside ground floor and white walls above.

 

Great Expectations- Building healthy communities and homes for our ageing society

The Living Space Architects team recently attended the Housing Lin conference in Bristol entitled: Great Expectations: Building Healthy Communities and Homes for our Ageing Society.


Later living housing and building homes for the ageing is something that resonates strongly with our values and efforts, and we were interested to learn about other architects ideas in this area, and
the latest developments taking place.

We enjoyed an inspirational day exploring the themes of inclusive design and holistic communities, as well as the financial costs of later living care, both in the building itself and then making sure these spaces are sustained over time.


So what are the problems associated with later living housing and why is this something we should be concerned about? Why, as keynote speaker Paula Broadbent, Retirement Director at Keepmoat suggested, are 600,000 older people currently residing in poor-quality homes?


Homes that are inappropriate for later living can include those that:

  • Exacerbate feelings of loneliness and isolations: Through inappropriate location and transport links and lack of diversity in the local community
  • Are too cold: Due to poor insulation or being in a bad state of repair
  • Are too hot: Where occupants have limited control over the temperature of their home
  • Have no space for hobbies or fun: Such as not allowing residents to own a pet, or not having a garden to grow veggies etc
  • Have limited bedroom options: Limited to single bed and not allowing for flexibility for family or personal circumstance
  • Lack social opportunities: By failing to provide a social mix or space for people to interact and flourish together
  • Are inflexible: Lacking standards of space and appropriate layout
  • Are ugly: Not being visually attractive is an issue! People want to feel proud of their home and others should aspire to live there

Despite the phrase ‘planning ahead’ being voiced time and time again throughout of our daily lives, the reality is that we rarely have the time or inclination to take the notion seriou

sly- and take immediate action. Keynote Speaker Tony Watt OBE, Chairman if the Southwest Forum on Ageing, explained how important it is to make a change before it is too late and we have reached a ‘point of crisis’. He highlighted that older people are often very conscious of how they will be perceived if they downsize from their current property for which they have worked hard for, and that this is one of the key barriers involved in this preparation for later life.

From our experience, we have also realised that there is too much focus on housing as a capital resource, and that this leads to people staying in their homes for longer. This can be problematic, as these houses can often be too large and are not always appropriate for later life.

Downsizing at an earlier stage can mean that people are more likely to better negotiate a more flexible property, ensuring they find a mutually supportive and evolving community.

 


So why isn’t this downsizing progression occurring more frequently? Here we face a major problem- throughout urban and rural areas, a lack of enticing and affordable property deter people from making this significant step and change to their lives. Furthermore, the lack of variety of tenure required to suit the spectrum

of ambitions makes this move a risky feet and for many, not worth the costs involved. If the issues are addressed- and sooner rather than later- a platform for a safe and fulfilling later life for all could become a reality.


 

However, there are some schemes which offer hope that things are moving in the right direction. Living Space Architects take later living very seriously, and understand that quality, innovation and creativity is not something that comes at the expense of making a house functional for later years. We are always keen to consult with local people, developers and care providers and use our contextual knowledge and innovative thinking to help shape the later living accommodation of the future for the better. We are taking action now.

 

Published in Real Homes Magazine

Our beautiful house extension and refurbishment project in Grey Wings, Cornwall has been featured in the ‘Design Guide’ for Real Homes Magazine under ‘Sustainable Style’.

This was a wonderful project to be part of, and we worked with obsessive detail to make the property the best it could possibly be.

The result was a highly sustainable and innovative design, embraced the stunning views and location of the property in a contemporary, stylistic manner.

To read more about the design, and see more pictures of this impressive extension, click here.

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How to find a new development opportunity

Decided to take on a property development opportunity? We don’t blame you! There’s something incredibly rewarding about seeing a property come together through your own planning, dedication and hard work.

However, at the beginning, such a project can seem a little intimidating and daunting and it’s difficult to figure out where to start. So how do you go about developing an existing property- or building on from scratch?

Here are some ideas on how to find that perfect project so that you can get to work!


1. Make contact with the local commercial agents

A quick Google search will point you in the right direction.

rendells.co.uk

wardchowen.co.uk

salisburyhenderson.com


2. Research old and redundant buildings

Look at examples of others who have undertaken this type of work to draw inspiration. Then do some research into old and redundant buildings- do any have potential?

 


3. Auctions for land

Land auctions are a good way to find suitable plots but transactions are conducted on a ‘sold as seen’ basis and therefore require a quick sale, leaving little time for research:

uklandandfarms.co.uk/land

cooperandtanner.co.uk/Proeprty-and-land-Auctions

cliveemson.co.uk

countrywidepropertyauctions.co.uk


4. Local authorities

Cash-strapped councils often have parcels of land they are willing to sell.

tavistock.gov.uk


5. Utility companies 

Some utility organisations such as water, gas and electricity companies have surplus land available to buy:

southwestwater.co.uk

britishgas.co.uk

dailymail.co.uk/news/article-12290/BT-raise-2bn-property-sell-off.html


6. Previously approved schemes which have not been built

savills.co.uk


7. Change of use on office to residential

The objective is to allow changes of use of a building or land from B1(a): offices to C3: residential to happen more easily. The intended effect of the proposal is to support an increase in housing supply, encourage regeneration of offices and bring empty properties into productive use.

jll.co.uk


8. Barn conversion under permitted development

Agricultural buildings can be converted to a flexible, educational or residential use under permitted development rights:

millertc.co.uk

gibbskirby.co.uk

fulfords.co.uk